Nova Scotia is immediately restricting out-of-province travel for kids aged 11 and younger who are taking part in sports tournaments and arts performances until at least early January to curb COVID-19 spread.
That means children in that age group cannot enter Nova Scotia for these activities either.
“We are seeing cases … in kids five to 11 … people have been exposed and then secondary cases where groups of these young Nova Scotians have been traveling to sports and other events outside of the province,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief medical officer of health, told reporters.
Strang said that given that vaccination for this age group is only starting to roll out now, the province needed to take this step “to help keep our children and others safe”
The rule, which is effective today, bans people, businesses and organizations from hosting sports games, competitions, tournaments, and performances that include children 11 and younger from outside the province as participants.
Children also cannot participate in these types of events outside of Nova Scotia. However, children are allowed to travel and attend the events as spectators. They can also continue to travel for regular practices, lessons and rehearsals “which is lower risk because they are interacting with the same group all the time.”
“This will be in place for through the holiday season, and we will review where we’re at in January, both on epidemiology and vaccine coverage and see if there’s any need to continue it beyond that time period,” he said.
“We need to have this extra layer in place to get us through December. Having this will allow a greater possibility of kids being able to remain in school through December, to be able to participate in activities here in Nova Scotia through December.”
Nova Scotia began vaccinating children aged five to 11 today.
Strang said about 30 per cent of that age cohort had booked their appointment as of Monday.
“So hoping to get as many kids as possible in that five to 11 year age group get their first dose of vaccine before Christmas. And we have lots of capacity at our pharmacies across the province and in the IWK for that,” he said.
Currently, Health Canada has only approved the pediatric doses of the Pfizer vaccine for that age group.